The NFL world at large is still in mourning after the death of former New Orleans Saints DE Will Smith, who won a Super Bowl with the Saints six years ago. Current Arizona Cardinals safety and New Orleans native Tyrann Mathieu has spoken about the accused killer Cardell Hayes, who he says he had run-ins with as a child growing up in the city.
He described Hayes on Twitter as a “coward”, which brought him death threats, as he told the Rich Eisen show.
“I think it was really a situation he was in the wrong place at the wrong time,” Mathieu said of Smith’s killing. “He bumped into the wrong person. I knew this guy personally. It’s not for me to put his personal business on air, because when I came out yesterday and called him a coward, I received death threats from guys in New Orleans, from his relatives. I’m thinking to myself, what do you guys want from me? I’m here to speak the truth. That’s it. I’m not try to steal anybody’s life. I’m trying to give everybody the truth of a culture that is divided. You know?
“New Orleans is a place of great celebration. Great celebration. You can go there an have a great time. And then there’s another side of it. Where if you walk too far up Canal Street, you will get robbed. If you go in certain areas, something bad is going to happen to you. I don’t know how we control that. I don’t know how we change it.
“I lost several uncles there, uptown, downtown, New Orleans East. A lot of times, it stems from jealousy, man. Because a lot of people, they want to be famous, they want to have money, they want to have success. And the only way to really brag about some things is, ‘Man, if I can sell drugs, I can brag about being a drug dealer. Or if I can take lives, then I can brag about being a killer.’ That’s the culture now.”
Mathieu spent most of yesterday calling for political change in response to the killing of his friend, and even Sean Payton joined in saying in essence that he doesn’t care if his position on guns and gun violence will be unpopular in New Orleans and the rest of Louisiana. More details have emerged of the encounter today, none of which do much to explain why this tragedy took place.
You can see some clips of Mathieu’s appearance on the Rich Eisen show below: